By now you undoubtedly know that the iPhone features a very capable camera. But did you know that it's also a great video camera?
Right out of the box, the iPhone is a very solid option for those times when you need to shoot some quick clips for a slideshow or other multimedia product. With just a few apps and some low-cost accessories you can easily improve your video production value and quickly turn your iPhone into a very powerful addition to your camera bag.
For retro style video, we like 8mm Vintage Camera ($1.99). This is a great video companion to apps like Instagram, Hipstamatic, etc. With 8mm, you can recreate classic home movie film colors/graininess, add projector sound effects and even add frame jitters (my favorite). Effects can also be applied to any existing video in your Camera Roll.
For “real” video, the best app by far is FiLMiC Pro ($3.99). This app was designed with the videographer in mind. Some of the key features are the ability to lock focus, exposure and white balance points. You can shoot up to 1080p video, change the video frame rate, overlay a Thirds Guide to aid with shot composition, monitor Audio levels and even include a slate marker to note date/scene information.
To turn your video clips and photos into a multimedia slideshow, check out the ProShow Web slideshow app for both iPhone and iPad. It has a built-in video trimmer that allows you to edit your clips and mix your video and stills together for a really spectacular slideshow. Free to create short videos, full length HD video creation starts at $4.99.
The Hardware Accessories
To build a more powerful recording rig, let’s start with the most basic accessory, a frame to hold everything. We really like this Adorama L-bracket ($8.49). It’s simple, lightweight and features two standard shoe mounts.
To add an iPhone 4s to this bracket, try this iPhone Cradle Mount from Opteka ($12.95). It’s inexpensive, but solidly built and fits any standard tripod or camera mount. (Sorry, no iPhone 5 mounts are available just yet.)
A shoe-mountable dimmable LED light is another must-have. Prices vary greatly, but quality usually does not. Most of what you’ll find online in this category pretty much all comes from the same factory, only rebranded (and re-priced) by retailers. We found this one on Amazon for $30.
Last but not least, let’s fill that second shoe mount with a microphone. This is the only expensive accessory needed, but it’s an absolute must if you want to record high quality sound to go along with your video clips. The RØDE VideoMic ($149) is a great choice.
Naturally, because we’re working with an iDevice, you’ll also need an audio adapter to record the stereo signal coming from the VideoMic. These are a little more difficult to find, but KV Connection has one that will take care of your iVideo needs for about $30. We like this cable because it also features a headphone jack -making monitoring audio in the field even easier.